Summit Street Improvement Project Nearing Completion
Faculty, staff, students and visitors to Kent State University will no longer have to deal with orange barrels, detours, and traffic delays on Summit Street. After more than two years of construction, the Summit Street: Building a Better Way Improvement Project is scheduled to be completed in time for the start of fall classes.
Two-way traffic is scheduled to resume in the construction area on Aug. 15, weather permitting. The project, which was managed by the City of Kent, began in the spring of 2016 and made improvements to a one-mile stretch of roadway between Lincoln Street and Whitehall Blvd.
The project added many features to make Summit Street safer for motorists, pedestrians and cyclists. Enhancements included the addition of two roundabouts, more sidewalks, bike lanes, roadway lighting, a left turn lane from Summit Street to Terrace Drive and the relocation of Campus Center Drive to align with the Student Green.
The newest roundabout, at the intersection of Campus Center Drive and Risman Drive, has multiple lanes and HAWK beacons. HAWK stands for High-Intensity Activated Crosswalk and is a traffic control device that will make it safer for pedestrians to cross the street in high traffic areas.
Jim Bowling, Kent City Engineer/Deputy Service Director, explains that the HAWK beacon operates differently than a regular crosswalk signal.
“One of the key attributes of the City of Kent and Kent State is our inclusive and welcoming nature to all people,” Mr. Bowling says. “The HAWK beacons are a key accessibility feature allowing the visually impaired to cross this new larger roundabout safely; it also can assist any pedestrian to cross the street under heavy traffic conditions."
A video is available here to demonstrate how the HAWK beacon operates.
Mr. Bowling also noted that in the 17 months since the first roundabout opened at Summit and Ted Boyd Drive, there has been an 80 percent reduction in the number of reported crashes at that intersection.
While Summit Street will return to regular, two-way traffic in mid-August, work on landscaping and other smaller items will continue in the fall, but it should not cause a disruption in traffic.
You can read more about the Summit Street project at www.kent.edu/summitstreet.